On Self Acceptance


cats

 

Imagine you’ve had a terrible argument with your nearest and most dear friend.  You’ve not spoken to each other in months.  Any encounter with this friend has met with a scornful glance that is quickly turned in another direction and a silence quite noisy with unrequited pain and anger.

Eventually your own pain and anger begin to give way to better memories of the dear one and you find yourself in a position of surrender.  You realize that all this anguish is too dear a price to pay for the separation from the friend.  So you resolve yourself to take the step to make it right.

You make the call with trembling fingers and invite your friend to come to your home.  You explain that you miss them and want to talk it out.  After a pause that seems an eternity, your friend accepts.

As you busy yourself making tea and tidying up you find your friend’s presence is very near to you even though they haven’t arrived yet.  You realize nothing, not pride, not ego, not being right is worth the loss someone and something so dear.  And the bell rings.

With heart pounding you rush to open the door.  You had thought of a million brilliant things to say at this moment, but when the door is opened and your eyes meet it all plummets into silence.  Nervous smiles are exchanged and you invite the friend to sit.

In this moment your heart is full and your head is empty.  You realize there is no fault in your friend.  There never was.  They are someone sorely missed and deeply loved and in that light fault cannot exist.  You suspect your friend is feeling the same as you both sit quietly sipping tea, waiting for that moment of reconnection and feeling the warmth of that loving union as it returns.

This little tale is a reflection of our own inner world when we aren’t in acceptance of ourselves.  And most of us aren’t.  I invite you to sit a moment and feel what is happening in your own body.  Any sensation of discomfort or tension is telling another tale.  When we accept ourselves there is no tension, not physically, mentally or emotionally.  There is only relaxed clarity.

If you are seeking self-acceptance, regardless your reasons, reflect on the story above.  When the meeting with the dear friend finally takes place, the reason for the argument is irrelevant.  You instinctively know that reconnection and the resumption of the flow of the relationship cannot take place if you place blame.  You don’t even care who was right or wrong.  The whole difficulty seems stupid and you realize that relationship was never disrupted.  It was all a painful illusion.  And so it is when meeting ourselves.  You must meet what you are resisting internally eye-to-eye, openly and quietly.  You must allow it to be what it is, undisturbed.

As with the reunion with the friend, the whys are not important.  Why is in the past, and the actuality of the past is dead.  All that remain are stories of it, written by pain and anger, a distortion of the truth that will and can never be found.

So don’t waste your energy and create even more tension by bothering with the why, or the cause of your own tension.  Instead, invite it into your home, your heart, without the need for judgement.  Whether it’s right or wrong, justified or not, is irrelevant.  It is causing you discomfort and suffering

because you’re not meeting it fairly, openly and it won’t settle until you do.  Allow your own discomfort to be what it is.

So invite it as you would your dearest friend.  Sit with it, patiently, quietly and attentively.  Let it begin the flow without the interference of your own thoughts.  This disharmony only longs for your acceptance.  And, like your dearest friend, you’ll find a tremendous love begins to bloom.  The suffering ceases in an instance.  You are complete again.  Whole.  Untouched.  Relaxed.  Natural.  Joyous.   Burn the stories and don’t revisit them.  They’re completely useless.

Something About Fear


hands2

 

I’ve noticed something very curious about fear, both in general and as it relates to writing.  It’s always there, I’m just very good at trying to look the other way.  And we all know how well that works.  It doesn’t.  Every time I sit down to write, there is  fear that starts fluttering away in my chest.  An internal dialogue starts, always self-depreciating.  Ironically, I don’t experience this when I write a post on Facebook; a place of complete exposure.  But when the fear comes, I will not write.  Anything.  I just click that little red “x” in the upper right hand corner of the empty page with the proclamation “I can’t do it,” and busy myself in something else.

At first I thought it wise to figure out the “why” but I remembered that even if I do figure out why, I just end up constructing a mental fiction about it, filled with drama and intrigue, and it just compounds and completely defeats the purpose.  So no scrutinizing whys.

I’ve managed to make friends with my other arch rival, pain, why not this unfounded and irrational fear?  So, I invited fear to come and sit awhile.  Like pain, it too came quietly.  It sat very still, not the jittery, sweaty thing I had imagined it to be.  When I looked into its eyes I didn’t see quivering terror.  I saw a luminous softness, and somewhere behind the softness there was longing.  And in the quietest of voices, barely above a whisper, it explained its loneliness.  With a childlike innocence so tender and fragile, it was feeling very isolated.  Separated.  It longed for union and that union had to begin with my acceptance of its existence.  Another dear old friend just needing a loving embrace.  Another one I had forsaken.  Stupid me.  Coward to the bone.

But fear, when you invite it without resistance or definition, is such a tender thing.  An infant, all pink and soft and helpless, wanting to be nurtured, to be accepted, to be whole.  But this wholeness it longs for is not with the outside world or anything material or with anyone else.  It has awakened into the cold light of an illusory world and has become lost in the gaudiness, mesmerized by the din, believing its fairy tales and its horror stories.  It’s utterly confused.

So, I took its wee hand and patted it.  A comforted understanding bloomed and it simply faded away.  All that remained was a grateful and radiant smile.

 

All This Pain


butterfly soul

In retrospect, all the pain I’ve felt in my life continues because I resist just meeting it. I have convinced myself that some terrible thing will befall me that will be irreversible. That I will somehow be destroyed. So I stuff it away, ignore it, hide from it and I suffer. I’m a coward and I’m tired. This is a war I have enough clarity to know I won’t win. It’s not possible.

So I surrendered. I let the pain come and I sit with it quietly. There is no conversation with it or judgement of it. It’s almost as if it were an entity unto itself, equally tired, and together we just want to rest silently in each other’s company. Comrades. Compatriots. So we have been sitting.

I discovered what a beautiful friendship I’ve been denying. This pain is a beautiful thing, not the ugly, gnarled, snaggle-toothed demon I thought it was. It’s delicate. As transparent as a tear drop. It doesn’t want to destroy anything. It just wants the comfort of an embrace and the embrace it longs for is my own.

When I welcome it in the most intimate place in my heart, in stillness and acceptance, it transforms. Instead of a monster it’s just a tiny flower smiling up at the sun. And I have been the biggest fool.

 

The Landless Land


foggy stairway

 

Staring at a clock face that has no hands
I find myself in a landless land
Where shifting sands and watery mists
Rove endlessly seeking the lip-less kiss
Of a lover whose face is never revealed
With eyes turned inward on a truth that conceals

A million-note melody that no one can hear
Humming it’s sweet song to infinite ears
So silent this tune from the visage-less face
So supple the kiss, so full grace
That the dancers, the dance and the eternal song
Merge into one devotional throng

Shadow seeking substance seeking light divine
A stairway to nowhere that endlessly climbs
For a kiss within the eternal embrace
‘Round in circles forever and ever is traced
Until that which isn’t succumbs on its pyre
Every saint and sinner remains a liar

Out, Out, Brief Candle!


Image

“Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”


― William ShakespeareMacbeth

 

 

Stop Poking, Start Loving


When we love others sometimes we experience hurt.  Perspectives and attachments such as betrayal and blown expectations can be devastating.  And we tend to cling to the hurt.  We poke at the wound as though somehow being reminded will “save us” from it happening again.  But it doesn’t.  It just causes us to suffer and robs us of our light.

When it hurts and you’re tempted to pick at the sore place in your heart, remember.  This is the Home of the Beloved.  The Beloved has dwelt there long before your birth and will never leave you.  It’s never hurt you.  Its Face is reflected upon anyone you’ve ever loved and those you haven’t.  Even upon your own reflection.

Love this Beloved with the deepest abandon, as you’ve always wanted to.  Let the hurt remind you your Beloved is there waiting behind the bruise. Instead of poking the pain, express your love to this Beloved.  Let go of the pain and sink in the Love that’s there.   Be healed, for the Light of the Beloved shines for you.  Always.  And live without fear.

.Image

What Works Against You Can Work to Help You


glass butterfly

In places like this, in spiritual literature, in self-help media, we will encounter the word “ego” endlessly.  Every time we encounter this word, if we’re able, it’s helpful to watch the reaction that arises within us to the words surrounding it.  That is our own ego rising up and waving “hello”.  It’s likely to try and assert its control over us and our reactions, and the way it will depends on the context it’s used in.  Sometimes the reaction is self-satisfaction; a mental pat on the back.  Other times it will rise up as self-righteous anger; a defence mechanism.  It can us to draw closer to others, but will assure we remain steadfastly a separate entity.  It can also cause us to lash out at others; again assurance we remain firmly rooted in our own little box of self-identity.  Either way, it’s a self-defeating habit if we want to grow more deeply in spiritual understanding.

If we’re able to become aware of this as an observer and not an unconscious participant in the antics of the ego, we can become intimately familiar with it.  It’s through this un-attached relationship that we can begin to watch it’s influencing dissolve.  We will begin to see less of a need to react emotionally.  We gain the insight into the illusory stories the ego writes to sustain itself in its position of control.

But this is not a curse.  There’s no need to demonize it.  What the ego does when it arises is presents us with a perfect opportunity.  It shines a spotlight on hazardous and destructive mind-habits that keep us from any real understanding of who we are.  It illuminates its own illusion.

When we realize this, and learn to embrace it as our own inner guru, our inner life will begin to experience a shift.  We react less.  We suffer less.  We cling less.  We experience less conflict.  We have more clarity.  We feel more peaceful.  We experience a depth of effortlessness.  We experience life more fully.  Yes, the ego can work for us if we learn how to watch it and develop a conscious partnership with it.  Give it a try.

Change is not Something Projected by Thought – Jiddu Krishnamurti


magnolia

The mind we’ve grown up with, as we’ve learned is it, is not our friend. Busy in thoughts of self-judgement, judgement of others, societal concerns, daily worries, it keeps us chained to a world of mental illusion. We remain incapable of untouchable peace and seeing the beauty of our own existence, of the effortlessness of simply being alive, except for a small sip now and then. As we move to deepen our understanding of this thing we call “me” it’s essential to remain aware of how subtle these old mind-habits are and how they will sneak back in when we’re not looking. It takes some perseverance, but never stop inquiring into this thing called “I” and it will lead you eventually out of it.

The hope lies in the emptying out of all we hold onto, beliefs, concepts, worries, and intellectual knowledge.  The peace comes not in detaching, which implies force of will, but rather in the un-attachment which is the dissolving and surrendering of this self-imposed will.

 “It appears that man has always escaped from himself, from what he is, from where he is going, from what all this is about – the universe, our daily life, the dying and the beginning. It is strange that we never realize that however much we may escape from ourselves, however much we may wander away consciously, deliberately or unconsciously, subtly, the conflict, the pleasure, the pain, the fear and so on are always there. They ultimately dominate. You may try to suppress them, you may try to put them away deliberately with an act of will but they surface again. And pleasure is one of the factors that predominate; it too has the same conflicts, the same pain, the same boredom. The weariness of pleasure and the fret is part of this turmoil of our life. You can’t escape it, my friend. You can’t escape from this deep unfathomed turmoil unless you really give thought to it, not only thought but see by careful attention, diligent watching, the whole movement of thought and the self. You may say all this is too tiresome, perhaps unnecessary. But if you do not pay attention to this, give heed, the future is not only going to be more destructive, more intolerable but without much significance. All this is not a dampening, depressing point of view, it is actually so. What you are now is what you will be in the coming days. You can’t avoid it. It is as definite as the sun rising and setting. This is the share of all men, of all humanity, unless we all change, each one of us, change to something that is not projected by thought.”

- Jiddu Krishnamurti